There is a very earnest desire on the part of some of my readers to practice Meditation, and they are wishful that I should help them to begin. Well, I can but tell you how I began, for as I have often said before, experience is far more valuable than hearsay. One may read a thousand books and papers on Meditation; one may know, by theory, a great deal about it, but unless one has practiced it all the books and the study are as so much time wasted.
It is, first of all necessary to have a time set apart for meditation. You, each one, know when that time can be for you. Some of you are hard workers, busy house wives, working men and women, and you almost despair at finding even half an hour during the day in which to go aside for meditation. But this need not discourage you. First be content to train the mind to dwell upon spiritual things while you are working. As an example, I remember when travelling I used to set some words to the noise of the train, and so over and over again those words would repeat themselves in my heart as the wheels ground round and round upon the rails. Again, while engaged in house work I would spiritualize everything l made all my duties symbols of the Truth my heart longed for. My home, to me, was a type of Heaven. Every duty became a spiritual act of service. In this way I took my first steps in Meditation. Then, I remember so well when I passed to meditation on words. I would take a word while I worked, and with my mind stayed upon that word I would extract all the meaning out of it for my life. I would measure my experience by it; square my actions by it; bring my life into it. A favorite word in those early days upon which I used to meditate was Sincerity. Why, a word like that would last me for days sometimes. And, by the way, one might well meditate upon such a word a little every day! Then Beauty is a great word to meditate upon, and one that so affects all you are doing that you will be surprised at all the beauty you will bring into your work. For let me say here that right meditation never hinders a worker. If you find you are making mistakes, neglecting duties, leaving things unfinished because you are meditating, make no mistake about it, you may be dreaming, you may be indulging in reverie, but you are not meditating. Meditation is so strong, so calm, so real. It requires concentration. There is nothing negative and careless about it. If you go about it in the right way, so far from finding it detracts from your efficiency in any direction you will find the quality and the quantity of your work vastly improved and increased. You, busy mother, your hands are so full of service for the dear little ones, but you are longing to meditate on divine things. When I stitched my wee baby's little clothes I used to think of how it was for me to clothe the awakening mind of my little one with beauty and simplicity, purity and light. I thought of the beautiful garment of the soul of the child that had been given to me, and how much I must have to do in the making of it, until such time as she could think and reason for herself. I stitched love and beauty into every seam, and all the parts of those little garments held thoughts that came from the very depths of my being. The family meals, what a bother they are considered by some, but in reality what a blessed sacrament they are when prepared as an act of loving and faithful service. Through meditation I at last came to see that to prepare food for those I loved was one of the most beautiful things in life. The food my loved ones ate meant life or death to them. The health of those I loved depended upon the purity, the cleanliness, the amount of really nourishing and well-balanced ingredients put into each meal. Could I trust such a wonderful and beautiful task to the hands of the careless, the indifferent, the bad-tempered, and may be, for ought I might know, at times those who might mix the food with a magnetism and influence that would be very far from what I should desire for them. For I know that we put ourselves into everything we do. An impure thought may poison the food handled. A bad temper may be the cause of a spoiled dinner, and if we could always trace the feelings of depression to their source, or the after dinner pain to its cause, we might be much astonished. Then is not all food a symbol of the Bread of Life. Here is a beautiful meditation for you, earnest and busy cook,—handle the food as a type of that bread that came down from heaven and meditate upon that. The brushing and the dusting (for remember I am writing these articles for those who have to work, and not for those who have leisure) how many thoughts will awaken in your mind for meditation as you clean, and clear, and tidy, and arrange? The cleaning will speak to you of the cleansing of the heart from all that defiles; the clearing of the putting away of all thoughts that choke and hinder the clear flow of the light of reason, and the inflow of the Spirit of God; the act of making the room and the house tidy will speak to you of a well-arranged mind, wherein the thoughts come and go in right sequence, and where nothing is slipshod or out of place. For the mind is like a room, or a house, you may have nothing in its right place and waste no end of time looking for things upon which you should be able to put your hand at once, or it may be well—ordered, and everything in its proper place. And how the arrangement of your furniture, your goods, your household gods, will suggest much that is worth meditating upon. Order and method in the mind means an orderly and methodical house. And here too is suggested discrimination—that wonderful and greatly to be desired quality of the mind. So, you who are so busy, and yet so desirous to meditate, do not be discouraged. Find in the very duties that keep you busy all day the very material upon which to meditate. Wherever there is a desire for meditation there also are the means. Next month we will take up some further steps upon the way.